Opinion: Zeros and Ones

Much of modern computer technology depends upon simple combinations of “0’s” and “1’s” to input and dispense with stunningly complex actions. It is in these most humble building blocks that all processing begins and ends. The very fact that a 1 is not a 0 and a 0 is not a 1, when combined in long strings, allows the computer programmer to conceive and overcome countless restrictions with breathtaking speed.

An assemblage of impressive kids, The Young Actors’ Theater of Indianapolis (www.yakids.org) is currently presenting a short morality play that is both impressively presented and thoughtfully acted. These young people, 1,600 or so this year, bring forward about 20 productions and 65 performances annually. Many of these kids are from populations to whom the arts are not a part of everyday life. Executive Director Justin Wade and his sister Managing Director Catherine Wade include as one of several programs, The Court: Battle Real Issues. It aspires to encourage the kids to confront important social problems through theater; and, both the audience and the performers benefit. In one presentation, the teens address bullying in the age of social media. The topic is so timely it almost seems obvious – and as the play opens, one fresh-faced protagonist admonishes the audience that in bullying – one is either being picked-on or picking-on. Had this kind of simplistic, binary assessment been the end of the work, the production’s merit would be limited. But the kids go on to give a fully-formed and mature assessment that takes the work from After-School Special to worthy art.

As computing horsepower has exponentially expanded, the increased granularity of millions, if not trillions, of 0’s & 1’s have given developers the ability to make what is essentially a binary action appear to be more complex, even nuanced. These kids know it, and make good use.